Boy Scouts Leader Arrested for Showing Hardcore Porn to Kids at Church

These are Boy Scouts not being shown porn.
These are Boy Scouts not being shown porn.
Photo by Oddharmonic/Flickr

A Boy Scout parent volunteer was arrested by Sunrise Police last week for showing several minors, ranging in ages from 8 to 16, hardcore pornography on his cell phone while at a church fundraiser. And a Broward Sheriff's Office deputy who volunteers for the troop and is friends with the suspect declined to file a report, despite urging from other parents, according to the father of one of the victims.

Mark Kern, 48, faces two counts of distributing obscene material to a minor – a third-degree felony – for the incident that occurred on November 16, 2014. According to the Sunrise Police Department's arrest report, Kern was in charge of a group of juvenile boy scouts who were distributing beverages at St. Benard's Church and, while talking with one of the children about girls, decided to take out his phone and pull up some serious hardcore porn.

“While inside the beverage trailer, the defendant became engaged in conversation with the group of scouts at which time he showed them a photograph of a naked adult female,” the report says. “The defendant then displayed several pornographic video clips of adults having sexual intercourse.”

The police report goes on to describe the hardcore porn Kern allegedly shown the kids, which included blowjobs, threesomes, anal, and money shots. Sunrise detective David Lowenstein interviewed five of the boys who were exposed to the porn, and all five had similar stories about what they were exposed to — and their descriptions were extremely graphic. 

One of the kids spoke to New Times and explained how it started.

"[Kern] noticed one of the kids was looking at a Jamaican girl who was serving food," said the kid, whose name is being withheld because he is a victim in this case. "And [Kern] said, 'Oh, that's what you like?' And then he started showing us some pictures of naked girls, and then he showed us the pornos."

Kern voluntarily gave a statement to Det. Lowenstein on June 11 admitting that he showed the kids porn from his black Samsung phone. He was promptly arrested and transported to the Broward County Jail.

The incident has caused a major rift within the Boy Scout troop. One of the parents, whose name New Times will refer to only as “Joe” because his son is a victim in this case, says he had been demanding the Boy Scouts file a criminal complaint since shortly after the incident occurred — and the first scout leader he went to was a BSO deputy named Aaron Moore. According to Joe, Moore declined to go to the police about the matter because Kern is a personal friend. That sentiment was felt by a few other troop parent-leaders who also declined to go to the police.

Calls to Moore for comment were not returned.

The Boy Scouts ended up dealing with it on their own, and in December, Kern was quietly told he could no longer attend anymore Boy Scout functions.

Brick Huffman, CEO of the Boy Scouts of America's South Florida Council, confirmed to New Times that Kern was told earlier this year that he could no longer attend Boy Scout functions.

“We dealt with it internally,” Huffman said. 

However, despite the criminal nature of the allegations, no complaints were filed to police until Joe decided to file them on his own last month. One other parent has also wished to press charges against Kern.

Meanwhile, Kern denied the porn allegations and admitted only to showing pictures of "girls in bikinis." He wrote to troop parents in an email May 4, "The incident at the church the older boys and I were discussing girls and pulling pictures up on our phones commonly available on Google. They were absolutely risqué but not pornographic as [Joe's] son lied and said." He called Joe's son a “pathological liar” with behavioral problems, indicating the child made the whole thing up, despite the story being corroborated by other kids who were there that day. Kern went on to describe an incident in which Joe's son allegedly broke a parent's cell phone. Kern insinuated that the porno claims against him from Joe were retaliation for making the son apologize to the parent. “Joe did not go to the troop — he immediately went outside of the troop to do character [assassination] on me because I had reprimanded his son at the same church event I was called in to question for,” Kern wrote.

In an interview last week before Kern's arrest, Huffman said he didn't believe there was any merit to the allegations. In fact, he said the whole thing was over a disagreement over $400. When Joe wanted to take his son to a different troop, he asked for a refund of the money he and his son had raised for summer camp and paid the troop. But Boy Scout administration said they weren't allowed to transfer money to another troop because of IRS laws restricting nonprofits. 

Although Joe was upset about the money issue, he says it was just one more thing added onto the main issue of an adult showing his kid porn and other adults failing to take action.

"They lied repeatedly and tried to cover up what [Kern] did to those kids," Joe says. "They're supposed to be leaders, not throw a bunch of kids under the bus and call them liars and then threaten me with harassment."


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